Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Thursday night lamented how few people wore masks at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Freeland, Michigan earlier that day.
“How did we get here?” Collins asked during an appearance on CNN.
“Imagine you were an alien who landed on planet Earth, and you saw that our planet was afflicted by an infectious disease and that masks were an effective way to prevent the spread,” the public health official continued. “And yet when you went around, you saw some people not wearing them and some people wearing them, and you tried to figure out why, and it turned out it was their political party.”
That alien, Collins said, would think that the Earth is “just not a planet that has much promise for the future, if something that is so straightforward can somehow get twisted into decision-making that really makes no sense.”
“As a scientist, I’m pretty puzzled and rather disheartened,” the HHS official added.
As with Trump rallies in the past, many of the President’s supporters were seen flouting public health officials’ guidelines urging people to wear masks, which help prevent those with COVID-19 but are asymptomatic from unwittingly spreading the virus.
However, Trump has only recent begun wearing masks on occasion after refusing to do so as part of his efforts to downplay the pandemic ahead of the November elections.
Watch Collins below:
NIH director says he's " pretty puzzled and rather disheartened" about no masks at Trump rally. pic.twitter.com/icEZzyKz5p
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 11, 2020